Thursday 7 pm, August 10. An evening with poets Christianne Balk and Ann Spiers
Emotion, raw and unadorned, is woven through the poems of Christianne Balk’s The Holding Hours. Part I explores the subtle and surprising transformations that come from caring for her young daughter. Insights unfold in metaphor and persona below the surface of an exquisitely observed life.
Gazing through the lens of other lives challenged by disability and illness, including those of John Muir and the 16th-century Saint Germaine Cousin, these poems place personal experience in the context of pastoral poetic traditions, disability studies, and the history of political disruption.
Balk anchors these meditations within the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. She examines her (and our) relationships with nature—the moon snail, the azalea, snow geese, the dog rose—using the precise and unsentimental language of a trained naturalist. The sounds and images evoked reveal a stunning artistry—a mediation between self and the world and a celebration of the beauty and fragility of life and the anticipation of rebirth.
Ann Spiers is the inaugural Poet Laureate of Vashon Island WA. Her chapbooks are What Rain Does (Egress Studio), Bunker Trail (Finishing Line), Long Climb into Grace (FootHills). Her fine-art and letterpress chapbooks — The Herodotus Poems (Brooding Heron), and Volcano Blue, Tide Turn, and A Wild Taste (May Day) — are part of the special collections at places such as Stanford, University of Washington, Multnomah County (Portland OR), Bainbridge Island Art Museum, and British Library. Her poems appear widely, including anthologies such as Weathered Pages, New Poets of the American West, 500 Handmade Books, and on-line in Fire on her Tongue, A Sense of Place: NW Geospatial Poetry.
She received her Master in Literature and Creative Writing from the U of Washington. She leads workshops in developing poem cycles and the art/history of chapbooks. She co-wrote Walks, Trails and Parks on Vashon Island. Her awards include residencies at Hedgebrook, Whiteley Center, and Espy. She served on many selection committees for residencies, theaters, journals, and art commissions (King County and Washington State). Poet’s West airs her poems on KZER 90.7 FM.
Her present poetry project is a poem cycle, Weather Stations. Each poem has as its title a label and an icon from the International Weather Symbols or other climate and mapping symbols. Her hope is that the title injects the poem with a depth, a counterpoint, a link to climate. The poems are about climate change: political, mythical, surrealistic, scientific. Animals, humans, and the natural and built landscapes do a shift in these poems, migrating through past, present and future scenarios.